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Why Bass Strike or Ignore Artificial Baits

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#1
Why Bass Strike or Ignore Artificial Baits

What exactly is the reason why a Bass strikes an artificial lure? The common answer to
this question is that to a feeding bass, the artificial lures imitate their food or prey.

Crank baits, swim baits, spoons, in-line spinners and jerk baits appear to be baitfish to a hungry bass, right? When a bass hears a jig or lizard sliding across the lake bottom, the bass mistakes it for a crayfish, right? This is the general consensus among most fisherman, but is this really why the fish strikes? If this is true, then what food source does a plastic worm emulate? A bass will never see a naturally occurring earthworm in its life. Same holds true for spinner bait, one of the most effective artificial lures for catching largemouth bass. What exactly does a spinner bait emulate, certainly not a small baitfish, but yet the fish strike these lures regularly.

The answer to these questions lies in the mental orientation of the fish. The bass doesn’t have the advanced thought processes and complex mental capacity that we have, meaning that they may actually have no concept of “food” at all. The feeding bass doesn’t have the ability to make decisions on what is “food” and what is not. Anything that stimulates the senses of the fish can trigger aggressive behavior and could result in the fish striking or attacking it.

There are three key factors to consider when trying to determine why bass strike or ignore artificial lures, take a look:

First, even though a bass’s senses are tuned in on it’s prey (minnows, shad, crayfish or insects), these natural prey do not always stimulate the bass’s senses to the point of attack. These naturally occurring prey are always evolving to elude the predator, and thus avoiding detection by the senses of the bass. In these situations, artificial lures may actually be more appealing to bass than its natural prey. The trick is determining what sensory patterns stimulate the bass and matching an artificial lure to it perfectly. That’s no easy task, if it were, we wouldn’t have such a vast selection of lures and baits, we would have one.

The second factor to consider is that bass don’t always strike an artificial lure or natural prey because they are hungry. Bass will “attack” an artificial lure for several reasons, such as, curiosity, hunger, territorial defense, aggravation, and reflex or just because of the fish’s aggressive personality. For this reason, certain lures that are great at enticing feeding strikes such as topwater baits like the Zara Spook, may be terrible at producing a territorial defense strike. Bass may strike an artificial lure for a variety of reasons including hunger, curiosity, territorial defense or aggravation.

The final factor to consider lies in the fisherman’s relationship with the laws of probability.
Despite the advances in lure technology, bass fishing will not always be a sure thing. You would think that presenting the fish exactly what it wants will always result in catching the fish, this simply just isn’t the case. The bass’ behavior is the result of a complex set of factors both internal and external. Internal factors such as hunger or reproductive state are differentfrom fish to fish. External factors such as water temperature and light are constantly changing, and beyond control of the angler. There will always be times when the fish simply will not cooperate. Even the best of the best Professional Bass Fishermen have had days where they failed to load the boat.

Source
Jones Ph.D., Keith A. “Knowing Bass, The scientific approach to catching more fish.” Guiliford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2002.
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BFSA
#2
Sorry guys forgot to add the source before i get accused of plagiarism lol :blue-biggrin:
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#3
Very good read Roy. My Q is this, do bass remember being caught by a specific lure and then build up memory of the specific event, in other words as many have said but I don't know if this is true, do bass get clever after being caught a few times?
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#4
jaki1979 Wrote:Very good read Roy. My Q is this, do bass remember being caught by a specific lure and then build up memory of the specific event, in other words as many have said but I don't know if this is true, do bass get clever after being caught a few times?

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#5
jaki1979 Wrote:Very good read Roy. My Q is this, do bass remember being caught by a specific lure and then build up memory of the specific event, in other words as many have said but I don't know if this is true, do bass get clever after being caught a few times?

Hi Jaki
I went through the effort to study the behavior of Bass in a small cement Dam on the Farm for a few years and I can confirm they are very clever little fish you won't catch more that 3 fish out of the same school with the same lure. The only reason you do catch them the 2nd and 3rd time is because they are heavy competitive . But after your 3 cast they ignore you like your wive if you ask her to go fishing for the 4th weekend in a row. :blue-biggrin:
The second you change lures = fish On :blue-badgrin:
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#6
Guy's thanks for the interesting read's, makes sense.

This was confirmed over the weekend when I fished Hillcrest estate quarry. Due to the clear water you could see these nice 2kg largies swimming in the shallows. First pitched senkos then the plastic toads, then crankbait, spinner bait, topwater...they would charge up to these baits then shy away at the last moment before strike. With the senko, jig and leave jig and leave the interest was there but yet no strike.They would swim right up to the bait lying on the rocks, hover next to it, follow it when jigged but no strike.

At one stage I even had a small trout following the crankbait with the bass bellow instinctively darting towards the baby trout and then dart away at the last moment.

This is very strange to me. I saw about 15 different bass on the day and tried to interest them to strike, but no 100% strike commitment.

What is the story with these bass???
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BFSA
#7
I was given a great tip some time ago when sight fishing with cranks.Never swim your crank bait directly at the fish,in it's natural environment a baitfish will never swim up to a larger predator(suicidal).cast or pitch it near and swim it away as if it's trying to escape becoming a meal.............works more often than not. :blue-biggrin:
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#8
Good sound advise Clicker, will try this next time
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